Book exploring the Highland League released
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The Scottish Highland Football League is the focus in a new book exploring the lower echelons of the leagues that show community spirit.
Barcelona to Buckie Thistle depicts the football roads less travelled by supporters.
Author Mat Guy from Southampton wants the book to encourage footy fans to go and support their smaller local teams.
He said: "All my books are trying to celebrate the smaller teams and community clubs that are on everyone doorstep.
"People seem to watch football on Sky and I want to try to show what an amazing community it is.
" I want people to get involved and go along to support your local team.
"It is so sad to see local teams struggle across the country.
"My team Salisbury City went bust completely and dropped out the league altogether.
"That's why I started to write to fill that part that was lost when they went to the wall.
"I enjoy championing small clubs and people enjoy hearing about them.
"I hope it inspires some to go out there and give some of these teams a go."
The writer travelled around the grounds in the league to explore more about what the Highland League is all about.
However, he will not declare his colours for a team in the league as he loved every part of the league.
He added: "It is such a lovely thing to turn up as a neutral and I didn't have a single negative experience everywhere.
"I have a soft spot for Fort William as that was the first game I went to.
"I loved going to Inverurie and hung out with the Chuff Chuffs they are super fans.
"There are so many super experiences.
"So I will not be picking a team."
The reason behind the snappy title for the book published by Luath Press based in Edinburgh was to draw readers in from across the football world.
He said: "The publisher is quite good at coming up with snappy titles.
"He was trying to come up with something to give a broad look.
"Buckie Thistle was my last stop and there was a mini heatwave in August."
On what attracted him to write about the league he said: "I loved the idea that it is the most northern senior league in Britain that really appealed to me.
"I am probably one of the only people on the planet that haven't seen Fort William lose.
"I went to see them play Strathspey Thistle and they drew one all so they have a 100 percent record when I have been there.
"People said to me Wick is grim so I went up there with zero expectations.
"It was really lovely and I met some lovely people.
"I got to nearly every ground and tried to fit in as many grounds when I was coming up to a game."
The author wants to see more grounds and games the next time he makes the long journey from Southampton.
He added: "It is on my to-do list to see more teams and go to other grounds.
"It was an amazing experience and I always look out on social media for the scores in the league."
The book is out now and can be bought at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barcelona-Buckie-Thistle-Mat-Guy/dp/1913025357
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